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Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. Records

Identifier: MSS001

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of records of the Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis, Inc. (1968-1986), its successor, The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. (1986-1995), as well as MetroHealth Plan records (1974-1985). The history of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc., and its predecessors, is an integral part of the history of philanthropy, and health care history in Indianapolis. The Foundation records reflect the changes in the health care of the economically disadvantaged of Indianapolis in the past thirty years, both from an administrative and a medical viewpoint through the minutes of its governmental and administrative bodies, legal and financial documents, correspondence, institutional reports and other publications, as well as grant files. Although the records kept during the early years of the Council's existence are fragmentary and incomplete, those for the MetroHealth Plan and the Foundation provide good documentation of their development and operation.

The records have been divided into thirteen series: Legal/Corporate, Board of Directors, Board of Directors/Committees, Meeting Files, Publications, Administrative, Associated Organizations, Correspondence, Financial, Photographs, Grants awarded, Scholarship Fund, Rejected Grant Proposals.

Legal/Corporate Files, 1968-1993, consist of copies of Articles of Incorporation, original and amended, (1968-1993), Certificate of Incorporation 1968, and Code of By-Laws (1968-1987). They include also the 197 6 Federal HMO Qualification Application for Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis, Inc. with attachments. These historical documents reflect the structure and functions of the corporation, which ensure its consistency and continuity.

Board of Directors Files, 1968-2004, records contains files related to board and governance operations, such as meeting minutes for the board and Executive Committee. Annual Reports and Reports for the People from the years 1972-73, 1976-83, 1988-1992, and 1994-1997. Although it is not a complete set, the contents of existing reports such as Board Actions, Chairman's, Executive and Medical Directors reports, and financial and statistical reports, is a valuable source of information on the development of MetroHealth Plan during its 1976-1983 period of operation.

The other part of this record group are minutes with attachments from regular and special board meetings (1968-1991), and from meetings with Price Waterhouse (1987). They also include Executive Committee minutes (1971-86, 1990-91), board member lists, and correspondence regarding the IRS Report on Examination and the Foundation's protest (1987).

The history files contain the history and analysis of the prefunding stages of the MHC (1968-72) done by Department of Medical Care Organization, School of Public Health, The University of Michigan in 1976. The early history consists of a chronological narrative of events and factors which led to the MHC's obtaining health network grants from the OEO and an analysis of the significance of them, particularly as they affected the subsequent development of the network. Statement of Facts, the other history summary, written in 1987 as a part of the MHC Protest to IRS, emphasizes the foundation's background and analysis regarding the Council conversion and sale of MetroHealth Plan. The sub-series also includes the Foundation's legal and brief histories.

This series consists as well of materials related to the 1991 summer workshop and special meeting for the board members on the policy governance model and policy development. Records include instructions and working documents for the Health Foundation, and proposed governance policies, which were accepted at the Special Board Meeting on December 5, 1991.

Board of Directors/Committees Files, 1970-2003, consists primarily of minutes with attachments and agendas from the following committees: Nominating (1972-89), Legal (1986-90), Finance (1970-73, 1986- 93), Grant (1986-93), By-Laws (1987-93), Grievance (1976-84), Public Relations (1988-93), and Medical Audit and Review committees.

The Grant Committee, whose role is to review proposals submitted to the Health Foundation, is particularly well documented from its inception. Records include meeting minutes, criteria for applying for funds, outline of the grantmaking process, summaries of the grant commitments made by the board, and reviews of board actions on grant proposals.

Meeting Files, 1969-2004, include minutes and related materials from the general annual (1969-2004), and special meetings (1972-73) of the members, as well as from Stockholders meetings (1984-85), annual retreats (1992-1996), meeting for new members, and meetings of community representatives on MHC Board of Directors. Annual meetings records are only fragmentary.

Publications, 1972-1995, include: a few issues of the newsletter Metrogram (1980, 1984-85), program brochures, and special studies. Particularly significant studies include: "Special Stud y of Metropolitan Health Council" (a 1973 study by the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, which provided assistance to the Council in determining what laboratory services should be offered by those health centers participating in an experimental community health network), "Estimates of Numbers of Poverty and Near-Poverty Individuals, Marion County, Indiana, by Location" (a 1970 Council study done as part of the planning process to improve the delivery of health care for families in Marion County which had limited accessibility to care), and "General Practitioners in Marion County, Indiana; Number And Location Of Offices In April 1972" (prepared by MHC in cooperation with Health Services Management Corporation of Indianapolis).

Administrative Files, 1969-2003, are divided into six sub-series:

Agreements and contracts, 1972-1988, consists of various agreements with related documents including hospital agreements and negotiation documents with Methodist Hospital and Southeast Hea lth Center for the provision of hospital services (1973, 1982-84), drafts of management agreements between MetroHealth and HealthPlans (later became HealthAmerica) from 1981-82, and a 1981 Blue Cross proposal. The records also consist of various lease agreements (1972, 1986-1988), and an agreement between MHC and Perry Associates Architects (1972-73) to provide the architectural services to develop and build a prototype ambulatory health care facility designed for out-patient primary medical and dental care (Meadows).

Benefits file, 1973-1974, include MetroHealth Plan Benefits and related materials prepared by the Council for Southeast Health Center Board and Methodist Hospital Administration.

Conversion files, 1983-1984, contains documents regarding MetroHealth conversion from a non-profit HMO to a for-profit HMO. They include alternative models for transformation and document s regarding the structured issues related to the MetroHealth conversion.

Publications, 1978, 1984, include "Associate's Handbook", containing personnel policies, procedures and benefits, and "MetroHealth Plan Professional Staff", which provides essential information regarding the 1984 MHP professional medical staff.

Reports, 1972-1987, includes monthly staff reports (1972-73) which provide a brief summary of staff activities such as: coming conferences, directors' meetings, tours, governing bodies meeting highlights, and information on the network project development. This group also consists of reports (1973-74) which were part of the planning process to improve the delivery of health care for families in Marion County, including the report on the data from the patient medical records at Southeast Health Center, Nutrition Program Report of services rendered during 1973, and estimates of numbers of poverty and near-poverty individuals by age group and location in the county (1970). The 1987 HMO Valuation Report, prepared by Richard Bohn, contains facts regarding the conversion of five charitable HMO's to for-profit status.

Sale documents, 1982-1985, includes negotiation correspondence regarding the sale of MetroHealth Plan and its assets to NewMetro, Inc., and the purchase agreement with attachments and exhibits. Also included is a proposed sale valuation, correspondence, and other materials from E.F. Hutton and Co. In approving the sale, the Board relied on the opinion of E. F. Hutton (a nationally known investment banking firm with extensive experience in the health care area in valuating HMO's), that the transaction was fair to the Council from a financial point of view and in the best interests of the plan. In rendering its opinion, E.F. Hutton undertook an extensive study of the books and operations of MHP and thoroughly studied other HMOs.

Associated organizations, 1992-2003, includes records pertaining to the organization, operation, and goals of three separate programs with which either the Health Foundation or its board members were heavily involved: Care Connect, Learning Well, and Neighborhood Resource Center. Correspondence, 1969-1997, consist of MHC Presidents' few letters from the years 1969-73, MHP Executive Director Richard Bohn's correspondence (1973-77), and Board Chairman, George Ludwig's, correspondence (1973-77), including correspondence with governmental officials regarding development of the Plan and grant funds for development of neighborhood health centers. Financial, 1968-2004, records are divided into six sub-series:

Budget, 1971, 1986-1989, 1993, include the Foundation's budget summaries, proposed and operating budgets. Correspondence files, 1972-1993, contain a few letters regarding specific costs of operating the health center (1972-73), and correspondence with auditors: Coopers & Ly brand, and Katz, Sapper & Miller.

Reports, 1969-1992, include sets of annual and summary financial statements (1969-92), financial disclosure reports (Section 1318 of HMO Act), 1979-1984, and reports on Reimbursable Medicare Costs, 1980-82.

Fund-raising records, 1968-1982, relate to funds granted to The Metropolitan Health Council, Inc. by Indiana Regional Medical Program (1968-1972), State Board of Health (1968-71), the National Health Service Corps (1972), Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO/HEW), 1970-73, and others. These records consist of grant proposals, requests for renewal, agreements, related correspondence, reports and guidelines.

The records related to the grants obtained from the Office of Economic Opportunity document the development of an experimental community health network in Marion County (1972-1973), one of 14 such demonstration projects nationally. In addition, they document the restructuring of the Metropolitan Health Council, and the development of the MetroHealth Plan as required by the OEO.

Loan files, 1977-1984, include loan applications, correspondence, and agreements with attachments, related to the loans from National Consumer Cooperative Bank and Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Tax files, 1972-1992, consist of Federal and State Income Tax Returns and correspondence with attached documents from Price Waterhouse Co. and Cohen & McKeithen regarding the IRS, taxes and MHC requests for a new determination of status as a private foundation, as a result of the sale of HMO. This series also contains the documents regarding the MHC appeal to IRS (1987) in response to its negative decision (a copy of the protest submitted t o the IRS, Statement of Facts for the MetroHealth protest, Price Waterhouse Co. Report of Examination - Exempt Organizations, proposing to revoke the Council's exempt status, with a set of copies of the supportive documents, as well as the IRS Report of Examination)

Generally, the correspondence documents the long process of changing the institution's status from a not-for-profit corporation to a private foundation.

Grants, Awarded, 1985-2006, generally include grant proposals and agreements with related correspondence, close-out reports and evaluation of grants by the Foundation, grantee supportive information material s (mostly publications such as: newsletters, annual reports, informational booklets, and catalogs), and summaries of grant commitments. Grant files illustrate the main Foundation's activity after the MetroHealth Plan was sold in 1985. They document how the foundation distributed money, how it operated its own foundation through the solicitation and consideration of requests from the general community, how it encouraged certain health related projects and programs, and how it promoted research and development in the provision and delivery of health care. It also shows the relationship with various Indianapolis area organizations and institutions. Important related information regarding grants, can be found in the Grant Committee minutes and related materials.

Scholarship Fund, 1984-1987, consists of letters to scholarship recipients and thank you letters from recipients.

Rejected Grant Proposals, 1983-2005, consist of rejected proposals with related correspondence and grant applicant information materials. Although this series does not include all of the rejected Foundation grant proposals (compare with Grant Committee minutes), it provides information on organizations applying for funds and the reasons they were rejected. These files clarify the boundaries of the Foundation's field of interest.

Photographs, 1994, nd., includes photos of board members (board retreat), HIV/AIDS Discussion Group, photos of health centers and buildings of supported organizations, neighborhood health clinics, Maternal and Child Health Day Nursery, Independent Living, etc. Photographs are partially identified.


  • 1968 - 2006


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical / Historical

The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. was originally founded in July 1968 as the Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis, Inc., an Indiana non-profit corporation, by representatives of several community medical and social institutions a nd agencies, and interested physicians. Its initial goal was: "to establish a limited system of local centers to serve the health needs of the disadvantaged areas of the city and county."

Between 1968 and 1972 the Council helped to establish three small community health centers (the Martindale Center, the Southeast Center and the Central Health Center) and assisted two others in opening their doors to provide medical services in low-incom e neighborhoods. The Council role was to coordinate activities, raise funds and evaluate the centers, which were managed primarily by two large hospitals, Marion County General Hospital and Methodist Hospital. Initially the Council obtained the funding and worked with the Indiana State Board of Health, the Indiana Regional Medical Program, the Indianapolis Model Cities Program, the Community Action Against Poverty Program, the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County and other local social service agencies such as Flanner House, all of which were committed to providing assistance for the development and expansion of health services for medically indigent citizens. The Indiana University School of Medicine donated some services. Funds were always g ranted for short terms and required continual grant writing efforts. In 1970-72 the institution tried to obtain longer term federal funding by submitting a proposal to the Office of Economic Opportunity to develop a Community Health Network. In 1971, the Washington OEO Office of Health Affairs awarded the Council a $98,000 planning grant to study the development of a prepaid community health network for the Indianapolis area, and in 1972 awarded the Council a $2.3 million grant for the development of this project.

On January 1, 1974, the MetroHealth Plan began operations. The Metropolitan Health Council founded the Plan as an alternative means of health care delivery to the people of Indianapolis. The Plan was designed to benefit the Indianapolis community by offe ring high quality comprehensive and personalized health services to a voluntarily-enrolled membership (family or individual) for a fixed, prepaid fee. The key to the program was regular medical check-ups to catch illnesses before they progressed to where they were they were more harmful and more costly to treat. On January 1, 1977 the Council obtained qualification of the MetroHealth Plan as a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) under the HMO Act of 1973.

By late 1981 it was clear that the Council's not-for-profit status was restricting the ability of the MetroHealth Plan to grow. The federal loans and grants available to non-profit HMOs in the 1970s were ended by the Reagan administration, encouraging the operation of HMOs as for-profit entities. To insure continued growth the Board of Directors decided that MetroHealth Plan needed to be affiliated with a larger operator of HMOs. In January of 1985 the Plan was sold to the for-profit HealthAmerica, the largest independent investor-owned operator of HMOs in the United States, for $12.5 million. The Board believed that the sale of the Plan was in the best interests of its current and potential members.

In 1984 the Council had changed its name to MetroHealth, Inc., but after the sale of its assets the corporation changed its name back to Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis, Inc. After the transaction, the Council began planning its future operations as a charitable foundation. The proceeds from the sale were invested to be used to fund various health-related charitable, educational and research projects in the Indianapolis community. In 1986 the corporation's name was changed to the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc.

As the Health Foundation shifted to a grant-making organization, its board members adopted foundation operating procedures, agreed to serve health-related needs of disadvantaged populations, and focused their efforts on the greater Indianapolis area. By May 1991, they had identified three focus areas for grant activities: 1) HIV/AIDS prevention and education, 2) adolescent health improvement, and 3) maternal and child issues. This altered some of the foundation’s earliest giving patterns (to neighborhood centers, for instance).

The Health Foundation is currently committed to HIV/AIDS prevention, HIV/AIDS emergency assistance, and syringe service programming.


24.5 Cubic Feet (29 record cartons and 1 document case)


The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. is committed to improving the health of community through funding qualified agencies and organizations that provide health related services primarily to low-income population of Indianapolis. Its mission is to improve the social, physical and mental health of the community. It was originally founded in July 1968 as the Metropolitan Health Council of Indianapolis, Inc., an Indiana non-profit corporation, intended to aid uninsured Indianapolis poor who could not get medical and nursing care, an innovative and radical concept at that time. At the beginning the Council coordinated activities, raised funds and evaluated the neighborhood health centers located in the inner city. From 1974-1984, the Council developed and operated its own HMO, the MetroHealth Plan. In 1985 the Council sold the MetroHealth Plan, changed its name to the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc., and became a funding organization.

The records consist of legal and corporate records, board and committee records, meeting files, administrative and financial records, records of associated organizations, correspondence, publications, awarded grants, rejected grant proposals and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented by The Health Foundation of Indianapolis, Inc., Board of Directors, June 1996-January 1997. A1996-012 and A1997-002. A2008/09-023. A2010/11-024.


  • Van Vorst-Green, Beth. A Look Back: Examining the Past and Celebrating the Present of the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. Indianapolis, Ind .: The Foundation, 1995. [Call number: Spec. Col. Ref., RA424.G74, 1995].
  • "Funding Priorities." The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, 2019,


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Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, Inc. Records, 1968-2006
Processed by Malgorzata Myc
June 1997
Description rules
Language of description

Revision Statements

  • 2019-03-29: Catherine Walsh processed and added an additional 14 boxes to the original collection, adding to relevant notes to render them up-to-date.

Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA